Dating, the misery of joy, and the joy of misery

Is a cheerful demeanor necessary for dating? Standard dating advice, or common sense, seems to say so. We all have our darker side, but its our lighter one that’s more attractive, presumably. So, on a date, we’re advised put on our happy face.

This is perfectly sensible. Daters are trying to gauge, to the best of their ability, how much the other person likes them. Responses of smiling and laughing seem to be good indicators here. So it’s good for all parties to be at least prepared to able to engage in a jovial exchange.

What if one’s personality tends toward the melancholy? Too bad for them, I guess.

Someone who’s been at work all day wants a fun time, a relaxed time… but dates are extra work if you need to wear a mask. Dating would be less miserable for misery-guts if they were allowed to be miserable!

I don’t think that attraction really needs people to exude joy. The two people need to find each other interesting and interested. Why shouldn’t two gloomy souls, comfortable in their respective gloominess, attract each other?

If they know how. How would that work?

I have a hunch that a dating situation that requires each party to pay attention to each other 100% is sub-optimal. So forget coffee, forget drinks, forget dinner… at least, there should be something else to focus on. Like a board game, or pool, but something that lets people chat.

Creativity is said to be associated with depression, so maybe they can find each other through expressive hobby pursuits. Or arty Tinder profiles?


I’ve used gender-neutral pronouns all over this post but don’t be fooled! This is a sexist blog, bigly.

When I go on a first date and the girl shows happiness I am all-too-conscious of the possibility that it’s a total fakery. What if she presents a guarded, closed exterior? That’s happened once. It felt kind of shitty when it happened back then (my second date ever).  I dunno if now I’d feel better about that. Let’s see if it happens again.

(What happened then was nothing. I was not interested.)

Dating is still weird for me so until that changes, I’ll keep presenting a somewhat awkward side of my personality in these situations. That’s not to put myself down. It’s not wholly off-putting to everyone. It’s a self-correcting problem anyway. Dating reveals harsh truths about oneself, if one is ready to learn them!

Image source: Paul Gauguin, Human Misery print

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